Is Donald Trump dead? Viral Twitter hashtag explained as trend takes over social media platform

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Former US president Donald Trump has been suspended from Twitter since January 2022 (Image via Getty).

Donald Trump is not dead, although trends suggest otherwise. The hashtag "#TrumpIsDead" started trending on Twitter on Tuesday, November 1, 2022. Despite the flood of tweets, the rumors are baseless. No official statements have indicated that the former American president has passed away.

The death hoax has reportedly been traced to comedian Tim Heidecker, who tweeted that the president "sounds like he's dying" in a report where Donald Trump was commenting on the assault on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi.

Trump, i'm sad to say sounds like he's dying here. I think in fact that maybe he is and could possibly have a very grave disease of which he is dying from. we don't know but it's not good.โ€ฆ

The comedian wrote:

"Trump, I'm sad to say sounds like he's dying here. I think in fact that maybe he is and could possibly have a very grave disease of which he is dying from. We don't know but it's not good."

In response, a user tweeted that they heard from a friend that Trump had died. Heidecker replied to the message suggesting that either Trump is dead and they are covering it up or he is "badly dying" at the moment.

Look folks there are 1 of 2 things that could be happening. trump is dead and they are covering it up or he is badly dying at the moment. Which do you believe?โ€ฆ

The comedian continued with another tweet stating that Trump is dead, Elon Musk has suppressed the news, and that Donald Trump Jr. is now plain Donald Trump.

Here's what we know: 1. Trump is dead (died badly) 2. @elonmusk has suppressed this news (or has he?) 3. Donald Trump Junior is now just plain Donald Trump please like and share.

Heidecker's tweets received close to 20,000 likes and thousands of retweets within an hour, and #TrumpIsDead started trending on Twitter on Tuesday.

Donald Trump's death hoax used to test Twitter's new free speech policy

It was late afternoon when the hashtag appeared under the "What's happening" section for American audiences. Tweets poured in reply to Heidecker's tweet.

A fake CNN headline added to the hoax.

@timheidecker It's official, Trump has died

Many believed that the post was intended to satirize the propagation of misinformation that has been taking place on Twitter since Elon Musk's takeover, and test the extent to which the new censorship policy would stretch.

#TrumpIsDead is the best retaliation to Musk saying disinformation is free speech. Iโ€™m totally into it.
What a relief that #TrumpIsDead. I mean, he might be alive, but since we're apparently going a new direction on fact-checking in Chief Twit's new world, I guess we'll never know.

One user wrote that the hashtag proved that Musk has zero interest in stopping blatant disinformation and malinformation.

@timheidecker @MadrigalMaggie Excellent way to prove that @elonmusk has ZERO interest in stopping blatant disinformation and malinformation! Twitter is now, indeed, a town square that has been covered in graffiti with no clean-up efforts in place. Point well made, sir!
#TrumpIsDead but not really because Elon believes in selling the truth and free lies. Good morning โ˜€๏ธ clearly I need coffee โ˜•๏ธ if this is how today gonna go.

The hashtag was created after "Chief Twit's" controversial tweet with an unfounded conspiracy about the violent attack on Paul Pelosi. Tweets referring to the now-deleted post also cropped up.

@timheidecker @elonmusk I bet there's more than meets the eye about this trump is dead story.Why isn't it being reported?Why is MSM covering it up?

Speculations about Donald Trump's death fuelled the fire.

i heard he died in a sad and sick way (not as a dog, but this reporting could change soon)
@mylifeisabiglie @SwitchGlitchmon @timheidecker Oh? From what? a fr**king covevfe overdose!!??
@timheidecker Wasnโ€™t it due to the burger he threw against the wall getting its revenge? ๐Ÿ˜‚
@timheidecker @elonmusk "Someone told me, people are saying that he died on his golden throne, choking on a piece of chocolate cake, the most beautiful cake you've ever seen, while trying to pinch out KFC and hamberders."

Jokes abounded as the hashtag kept gaining traction.

@timheidecker This sounds credible but are you sure it isn't just someone starting their post Halloween clean up early?
#TrumpIsDead I canโ€™t believe they just put his ashes in a bowl like that after cremating him.
#TrumpIsDead is trending.โ€œItโ€™s a perfect hashtag. A beautiful hashtag. People come up to me and say: โ€˜Sir, Iโ€™ve never seen such a perfect hashtag.โ€™โ€

Heidecker acknowledged the popularity of the hashtag and tweeted that "many are sad by the news."

many are using #TrumpIsDead to spread the word. Many are sad by the news

Filmmaker Jeremy Newberger also joined in and tweeted that a Trump stand-in has been "made from polyurethane foam and Sunkist soda," according to his sources.

My sources are telling me, in their humble opinion, that the MyPillow Guy has created a Trump stand in made from polyurethane foam and Sunkist soda. #TrumpIsDead

Elon Musk, who is an active participant on Twitter, is yet to respond to the hashtag.

The Tesla CEO changed his Twitter bio from "Chief Twit" to "Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator" on Monday, November 1, 2022, after complaints poured in about the dissemination of false information and other problematic content on the platform. On Tuesday, he wrote:

To all complainers, please continue complaining, but it will cost $8

Donald Trump, who has been suspended from Twitter since January due to concerns of inciting further violence following the Capitol Hill incident, has not reacted to the hashtag on his personal social media, Truth Social.

This is the former president's second time as the subject of a death hoax. In 2016, Donald Trump was the victim of a false claim that stated that he had died after a "violent heart attack."

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